A $220 million upgrade to the Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant (SA) is scheduled to be completed within the next few weeks. The plant at O’Sullivan Beach receives and treats wastewater from Adelaide’s southern suburbs.

Minister for Water and the River Murray, Ian Hunter, said the plant was commissioned in the early 1970s, and in 2006 SA Water began to increase its treatment capacity by 50 per cent.

“This upgrade was in order to service anticipated local population growth as well as to further reduce the plant’s environmental impact,” Mr Hunter said.

“We’ve worked closely with contractors, consultants and our metropolitan alliance partner, Allwater, in order to achieve this result. One of the things the upgrade has allowed us to do is decommission and rehabilitate the Noarlunga Downs sludge lagoons, with sludge management now happening on site at Christies Beach in a sealed, odour and noise-controlled building.”

“Following community consultation and environmental investigation, SA Water decided to convert the sludge lagoons into stormwater wetlands. Stormwater enters the wetlands from existing ponds managed by the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, and from there moves through each lagoon prior to flowing into the Onkaparinga River,” a spokesperson from SA Water said.

“This natural process removes nutrients from the stormwater, making it cleaner when it enters the river.

“The site also provides an important habitat for a variety of plants and animals, and is a practical addition to the local community.”

Other components of the plant upgrade included the installation of an additional outfall pipe and the implementation of more efficient and effective technology to remove bacteria and solids from the wastewater and to reduce nutrient discharge into the marine environment. Extensive landscaping was also done around the treatment plant site, and a new shared bicycle and pedestrian path was installed along the top of nearby sand dunes.

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